Lions fluff chances to seal WP vic­tory

The Star Early Edition - - SPORT - THEO GARRUN

IT WAS hon­ours even be­tween WP and the Golden Lions at the end of a thrilling last game of day three at the Coca-Cola Craven Week at St Stithi­ans yes­ter­day.

The fi­nal score was 13-13, with both sides scor­ing two tries and a penalty. Prov­ince got theirs in the first min­utes of each half, with the Lions hav­ing the edge in pos­ses­sion and ter­ri­tory in be­tween. Poor goal-kick­ing and han­dling er­rors prob­a­bly cost them vic­tory in the end.

On the bal­ance, the game was as even as the score­line shows. Both sets of backs looked ex­cit­ing with ball in hand, but fierce tack­ling from both saw pre­cious few try-scor­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties. Prov­ince had the break­down, mak­ing a num­ber of cru­cial turnovers, but the Lions had the edge in the scrums and it was from one mighty ef­fort close to the WP line that they won the penalty that took them to 13 points.

Prov­ince were awarded a penalty of their own im­me­di­ately af­ter­wards, which Quan Ey­mann slot­ted to tie it up, and the game ended shortly af­ter­ward. Lions re­serve prop, Nkosikhona Ma­suku, was a rev­e­la­tion, he de­stroyed the Prov­ince scrum al­most sin­gle-hand­edly, and he was re­warded with the Hero of the Day award.

The re­sult will have com­pli­cated mat­ters for the fix­tures com­mit­tee. A win­ner would prob­a­bly have gone through to the fi­nal to meet ei­ther SWD or the Sharks, who meet in to­day’s late game.

As it stands, ei­ther Free State, who are un­beaten af­ter beat­ing the Pu­mas to­day, or the Lions, as the home prov­ince, will prob­a­bly get the nod. Free State were given quite a fright by the Pu­mas in the day’s cur­tain-raiser. They won quite com­fort­ably in the end but they were 21-0 ahead at one stage be­fore the Pu­mas closed the gap to a sin­gle point by half-time.

The sides swopped tries reg­u­larly through­out the sec­ond half and the Pu­mas came to within a sin­gle point on two more oc­ca­sions. Free State were 42-41 ahead with six min­utes to go, but they then scored three fur­ther tries, with­out re­ply, to run out 63-41 win­ners.

Free State ran in nine tries, all con­verted by Christo­pher Schreuder. Ruhann Greyling and Rikus Pre­to­rius got two each, with Mar­cel The­unis­sen, Te­boho Ram­pai, Keaton Swart, Arno Nieu­woudt and Janco Van Heyni­gen scor­ing the others.

Te­boho Mosia dot­ted down twice for the Pu­mas, with Ti­aan de Beer, Stephan Van der Bank, Prince Nk­abinde and Thabiso Mk­wa­bane get­ting one each. Van der Bank kicked a penalty and four con­ver­sions.

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